On Dec. 7, 2023, the Austin City Council passed new code amendments for the first phase of the “Home Options for Middle-Income Empowerment” (HOME) Initiative. The approved code amendments are among a series of updates to the City’s Land Development Code (LDC). The goal of these changes is to provide more housing types and increase housing supply within single-family zoned areas of Austin.  Development applications related to these changes are now accepted as of Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. 

This webpage serves as a hub for information related to the HOME Initiative and will be updated as more information is available. Sign up for DSD's Building Connections e-newsletter for additional updates. 

These approved code amendments:

  • Allow up to three housing units, including tiny homes, on a Single-Family (SF) zoned property (SF-1, SF-2, SF-3);
  • Revise regulations that apply to a property with two housing units; and
  • Remove restrictions on the number of unrelated adults living in a housing unit. 

The HOME Amendments only apply to duplex, two-unit residential, and three-unit residential uses. The new regulations do not apply to Single-family residential use, which will continue to be reviewed under existing regulations, including Subchapter F.  

A code interpretation regarding Tiny Homes, Manufactured Housing, and Mobile Homes is under development and will be posted to the DSD Code Interpretation Library

Applications Submitted Prior to Feb. 5

  • Plan Review is in Progress: Residential building permit (BP) applications submitted prior to Feb. 5, 2024, will be reviewed under pre-HOME regulations unless an applicant submits an update that specifically opts into the HOME Amendments.  Updates for this purpose are permitted only for two-unit projects; three-unit projects will require a new BP application for consideration under HOME. 
  • Plan Review is Approved: For Residential BP applications approved under pre-HOME regulations, a major revision can be submitted to opt into HOME amendment regulations if the following requirements are met:
    • A completed revision form must be submitted that specifically opts into HOME amendments with a new application provided.
    • Revisions must be submitted before permits have passed Framing inspections.
    • Revisions cannot be submitted that would require the creation of a new BP.

 Overview of Development Standards and Review Under HOME 

Accessory Dwelling Units and Accessory Structures
  • HOME eliminates the “primary” vs. “secondary” (also referred to as “accessory”) use distinction.  
  • The HOME ordinance also amended Chapter 25-2, Article 5 (Accessory Uses) to eliminate guest houses, on-site employee housing, and accessory apartments as categories of accessory uses.
  • HOME did not change requirements applicable to accessory structures that are not dwelling units.  For guidance on what constitutes a dwelling unit, see Code Interpretation No. CI2021-010 (PDF)
Addressing
  • Every dwelling in two-unit and three-unit uses needs to have a unique address.
  • Additional guidance on requesting a new address for a dwelling can be found on the Addressing webpage
Gross Floor Area (GFA) and Floor-to-Area Ratio (FAR)
  • Within the area established in Subsection 1.2.1 of Chapter 25-1, Subchapter  F (commonly known as the McMansion boundary), all “enclosed space” counts towards GFA & FAR, as provided in Sec. 25-2-773(E)(1)(b).
  • Enclosed space includes “all floors in a building with a clear height of more than six feet, measured to the outside surface of the exterior walls” which means:  
    • Garages, lofts, and mezzanines count towards GFA & FAR since they are enclosed.
    • Carports and porches do not count to GFA & FAR since they are not enclosed.
    • Double height spaces will only count once towards GFA & FAR.
    • The only GFA & FAR exemption available under HOME is for structures utilizing the Preservation Bonus under Sec. 25-2-773(F).
  • Projects requesting to use the preservation bonus. Under the HOME Amendments, the preserved portion of existing structures may be exempt from GFA & FAR calculations if they’re preserved consistent with requirements established in Sec. 25-2-773(F).
Height Regulations
  • The method for measuring height remains unchanged, including for parapets.  
  • Allowed building height is subject only to the base zoning limits established in Section 25-2-492 (Site Development Regulations). Subchapter F height restrictions (32 feet) still apply to single-family residential use.
Impervious Cover and Building Coverage Limits
  • For duplex, two-unit residential, and three-unit residential uses in all zoning districts:
    • Maximum building coverage is 40%.
    • Maximum Impervious Cover is 45%, which differs from pre-HOME regulations by increasing impervious cover for these uses in the SF-1 zoning district.
    • Garages and carports continue to count towards impervious cover and building coverage.
Neighborhood Plan (NP) Infill Tools
  • Small Lot Amnesty only applies to single-family residential uses. Two-unit and three-unit residential must comply with applicable minimum lot area requirements.
  • HOME garage placement standards differ from NP garage placement standards.  When both apply, the more restrictive standard is applied.
Fair Notice Application Process
  • The completion of the Fair Notice process guarantees a one-year extension to submit a completed residential BP application for review under pre-HOME regulations. If the residential submittal package is not submitted within one year of the application, the Fair Notice expires, and future development applications will be subject to the HOME amendment regulations.
  • If you have any questions about the Fair Notice Application process, contact Chris Johnson, DSD Environmental Program Manager by phone at  512-974-2769 or via email at Christopher.Johnson@austintexas.gov
Separation Requirements
  • Zoning regulations no longer require a minimum separation between units.
  • For separation requirements between units, compliance with applicable technical codes is still required.  This includes minimum separation between units as required by the Fire Code.
Triplexes and Three-unit Residential Use
  • Triplexes (i.e., three attached units) are allowed. A three-unit residential use can include attached or detached units in any combination.
  • Triplexes (which does not include townhouse buildings) are subject to the International Building Code (IBC), which applies to three or more attached units. As such, triplexes which match this description will be reviewed through the Commercial Plan Review process.
  • The International Residential Code (IRC) applies to single detached units, two attached units, or townhouse configurations that do not exceed three stories.

Submit a Residential Project

To apply for any new residential project, please navigate to the Residential Plan Review webpage to learn more about submittal options. 


Appointments

Choose one of the following options to schedule an appointment with staff for questions about HOME Amendment-related projects:

Residential Zoning Questions (Property)

Ask general zoning questions related to the Land Development Code for properties that contain single-family, townhouses, duplexes, and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) residences. For example, impervious cover, setbacks, building coverage, Subchapter F, and other site development and zoning regulations for any new construction, addition, and other changes to a property. Please contact the designated reviewer if you have questions regarding a plan currently in review. Appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Residential Building Code Technical Questions (Building or Structure)

Ask general building code and structural questions related to international residential building codes, trade codes, and land development codes. For example, interior remodels, foundation, roofing, and wall-bracing plans, and any other changes or modifications to a building or structure. Please contact the designated reviewer if you have questions regarding a plan currently in review. Appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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